The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued red alerts in six districts, warning of the possibility of extremely heavy rainfall from Thursday to Saturday.
Idukki and Malappuram can expect extremely heavy rainfall -- which in IMD parlance indicates rainfall above 204.4 mm in a 24-hour period - on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, according to the IMD. Red alerts have been issued for Wayanad and Kannur on Friday and Ernakulam and Thrissur on Saturday.
The national weather agency has issued orange level alerts for Idukki for Wednesday, for Kottayam on Thursday, Ernakulam and Palakkad on Friday and Palakkad, Kozhikode, Wayanad and Kannur on Saturday. Orange alerts signal the possibility of isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall (64.5 mm and up to 204.4 mm in a 24-hour period). Yellow alerts signalling the possibility of heavy rain has been issued for most districts from Thursday to Saturday.
The IMD forecast indicates that the southwest monsoon, which has been stuck in an extended weak phase after the June 8 onset, is finally showing signs of gaining strength.
Urging government departments and the public to be prepared, the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) warned that incessant extremely heavy rainfall increases the chances of natural calamities such as floods and landslides.
Travel to hilly and coastal areas of the above-mentioned districts should be avoided between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., the KSDMA said in an advisory. As water levels in rivers and canals are bound to rise, care should be taken not to enter them. The public should also avoid bathing or washing clothes in rivers, the KSDMA said.
The KSDMA has also advised people residing in the districts where the alerts have been issued to prepare emergency kits containing a torch, radio, 500 ml of water, ORS packet, medicines, anti-septic lotion, 100 gm of peanuts, 100 gm of dried grapes, a pen knife, ten chlorine tablets, power banks/batteries and money. Documents, certificates and other valuables also can be kept in the kits.
Between June 1 and July 16, the State has recorded an overall deficit of 47% in southwest monsoon rainfall. Against a normally expected rainfall of 1035.3 mm for the period, the State has so far received only 551.3 mm.